Malcolm Clements, coordinator at The Northern School of Art, lecturing at Bowes Museum in Barnard Castle.

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A Masters of Arts (MA) in Design History will begin in September 2020 aimed at students who want to study material culture and pursue a career in design.

Malcolm Clements, coordinator at The Northern School of Art, said the programme is being written with “input from partners such as curators from heritage properties, museums, auction houses, archives and depositories, and antiques institutions”.

Lecturers on the course will include specialists in design history and material culture who have worked in the antiques and galleries sector.

The launch of the course is welcome in a sector in which the number of courses relating to the history of art and design and fine art has reduced in recent years.

Among the remaining institutions still offering related courses, the University of Central Lancashire in Preston runs a Masters of Arts (MA) course in Antiques and West Dean College of Arts and Conservation focuses on courses in conservation and traditional art and craft practices. For art business courses Kingston University offers an MA in Art Market & Appraisal.

According to data compiled by the Higher Education Student Statistics Agency, there was a 28.5% decrease in students studying history of art at university in the UK over the last decade.

The number of first year university students fell between the 2008-09 academic year and that of 2018-19.

In the same period students studying the wider category of historical and philosophical studies, which includes history of art, fell by 17.56%.